Hurricane Ridge Summit
WOW . . . in our opinion Hurricane Ridge is one of THE most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., most of which travels through spectacular Olympic National Park in Washington state. This is an exceptional climb for many reasons including gorgeous scenery, magnificent views, the incredible road, super fun descent, heavily forested for most of the climb, in a National Park.
23 seconds of Hurricane Ridge
Our full 3:42 YouTube Video of Hurricane Ridge
The climb begins in Port Angeles, Washington, a couple hours drive from Seattle with no traffic; see ferry details below for alternate access to the climb. Taking advantage of Washington’s extensive and affordable ferry system is not a bad option!
It’s a trek to get to, but you don’t have to drive . . .
Climb begins in Port Angeles (football legend John Elway’s birthplace).
We pass Olympic National Park Visitor Center at mile one and come to the park’s toll booth at mile 6.2. There is a $7 entrance fee for cyclists as of August, 2015.
Turn right onto Hurricane Ridge Road at ½ mile up the climb.
From our entrance into the park to the top of the climb 12 miles later, we have many exceptional views of surrounding mountains, ultimately viewing Mt. Olympus, the highest point in the Olympic Mountains. You can also see the Puget Sound/Strait of Juan de Fuca, the international boundary between Canada and U.S. We are a stone's throw from the Canadian border at the beginning of the climb.
Enter park at mile 5.6 (another 12 miles at 5.3% to go from here).
Now that’s bike friendly!
As with many of the most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., the cyclist has a great advantage over the motorist: we can stop to take in the view or photograph anywhere we wish, cross the road, stop, and edge down the mountain a bit for better views between trees. We truly feel that the best way to see these great rides is from the saddle of a bike. We cannot say enough about this climb. It is a must-do for anyone willing to travel a bit to experience one of the top cycling climbs in the U.S. It is easily accessible, especially if you are planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest for cycling.
A few points we can pass on regarding this one:
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 3.4 (12.7%) and steepest mile begins at mile 1.3 (8.9%)
How did Hurricane Ridge get its name?
According to Exotichikes.com, the story goes that on an incredibly windy day in 1897, W.A. Hall, a prospector, climbed up to Hurricane Ridge from the Elwha River. As he passed the breathtaking scenes of wildflowers, marmots, deer, and other flora and fauna, he made his way to the summit of what is now known as Hurricane Hill. “Standing atop one of the best views in the world, he was struggling” to maintain his footing. He leaned forward in order to remain upright, with “his long white beard blowing in his weather beaten face. As the 100 mile per hour winds slammed against him, he muttered, ‘This must be a dag-gum Hurricane.’
Ok, that probably isn’t what he said, but the story is still 100% real. Hurricane Ridge was named because a prospector decided, on a super windy day, to go stand on top of a mountain.”
Ferry Directions to Hurricane Ridge:
If one is interested in adding to the scenic adventure of Hurricane Ridge, take the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry if you are coming from Seattle. The Ferry runs every 1½ hours (schedule) from the Seattle Terminal at the 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52 , just 13 miles north of SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). The main website for the terminal lists the space available for the upcoming six ferries. We encourage the ferry crossings as this really does add to the overall experience of this exceptional journey. (Photo note: This is a photo from the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry that we took on our way from Hurricane Ridge to the next WA Top 100 Climb, Mission Ridge, Wenatchee, WA, we were very disappointed to have missed the main Ferry from Seattle to Bremerton. The best laid plans and all . . . ).
We prefer the ferry to the drive.
Mt. Rainier as seen from the ferry.